"The good news" about breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be challenging even for experienced moms.  That’s why MLK Community Healthcare opened a Lactation Clinic staffed with friendly and supportive people like Lydia Boyd, a lactation (breastfeeding) educator.  We asked Lydia when families should get breastfeeding help, whether it’s possible to avoid discomfort and what breastfeeding should ideally be like.  Here’s what she said:

When should a new mom see a lactation specialist?
It’s never too early to get support!  I highly recommend starting before baby is born.  You and your partner or support person can attend breastfeeding support groups and pre-birth breastfeeding classes where you can get information and meet other parents.  It’s also a great time to meet and develop a relationship with a lactation professional who can talk to you about the nutritional benefits of breastfeeding and support you when you start on your breastfeeding journey.  

Once your baby has arrived we recommend that you see your lactation professional within the first week of birth. In these visits, the latch (how a baby is attaching to their mother’s breast) will be assessed and adjusted for the best comfort of the baby and parent. Also, we will assess and discuss the parent’s milk production. Follow up visits might be required to ensure breastfeeding is working and the family can meet their feeding goals.

What are some of the normal concerns you hear from moms?
Sometimes moms have concerns about their body’s ability to produce milk.  Others worry about the size or shape of their breasts, cultural beliefs, or any medical conditions that they feel could pose a problem with breastfeeding.  The good news is that we can help and that, with very few exceptions, breastfeeding is possible for most moms.

Is it normal to for breastfeeding to be uncomfortable at first?
Some moms do experience pain. But pain is not normal or optimal for your breastfeeding relationship. If the latch is painful or you are experiencing pain in your body while feeding your baby, please contact your lactation professional immediately and schedule a visit.

What should breastfeeding feel like?
Physically, many moms describe a tingling, warm feeling in the breast, especially at the moment of the milk begins to flow. The sucking feels like a gentle tugging sensation.  Emotionally, some moms describe a feeling of great satisfaction at being able to meet your baby’s needs in such a simple way. Not all moms feel the same way so if breastfeeding is not this pleasant for you, I strongly encourage you to connect with a lactation professional to discuss your feelings.  But for many women, breastfeeding can be a wonderful bonding experience for both mother and child.

Want to talk to a lactation educator?  Schedule an appointment with the MLKCH Lactation Clinic: 424-529-6755

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